Friday, October 24, 2014

Want to Know How Much Money Our Board Members and President Contribute to Chicago State? Here's the Answer

The simplest response to the question just posed by my distinguished colleague is that Wayne Watson simply cannot raise money for Chicago State. A look at the overall fundraising since 2008 dramatically underscores that point. Between 2008 and 2011, the university received a modest $1 million a year in contributions, with a high of $1.37 million in 2011, the year Julian Scheinbuks contributed $1 million to the Chicago State Foundation. Subsequent years have seen a steady decline, to $933,000 in 2012, $725,000 in 2013 and $508,900 in 2014. The 2012 figure includes $533,000 from Walgreen’s to the College of Pharmacy, the 2013 amount includes a one-time $200,000 contribution from the liquidation of the Emil Jones, Jr., Youth Foundation, and the 2014 total includes almost $200,000 in corporate donations to the College of Pharmacy. Along with the $1 million 2011 contribution, these one-time contributions for which Wayne Watson likely did little or nothing (except for the Emil Jones contribution, that cost the City Colleges more than $75 million in no-bid contracts for Jones’ nephew and son-in-law) account for $1,733,000 or nearly 50 percent of the 3.5 million in contributions to the CSU Foundation since 2011. That means that in those 4 years, other contributions have totaled around $450,000 per year.

Recently, I noticed on the Chicago State Foundation’s web page a series of files titled “Honor Role of Donors” for fiscal years 2008 through 2014.

The website is here:

This material details all the contributions by corporations and individuals from 2008 through 2014. It paints a disturbing picture of the fund-raising abilities of Wayne Watson and highlights another demonstrable failure in his administration of this university. Here are some of the key findings, based on a cursory examination of the voluminous data:

1) Wayne Watson’s administration has not moved the school’s faculty to contribute. A look at the 2014 information reveals that fewer than twenty Unit A faculty members gave any money to the foundation. As one of the majority of faculty who gave nothing to the school, I can say without hesitation that my reticence to contribute is primarily related to the continued mismanagement and corruption demonstrated by the Watson administration.

2) It appears that somewhere between 30 and 40 administrators contribute, another fairly small percentage of the total number of administrative personnel.

So, the response from the staff and faculty here at the school can hardly even be described as tepid.

Perhaps the most disturbing information contained in these files is the almost complete lack of financial support for the school from Wayne Watson and the members of Chicago State’s Board of Trustees. As you know, these people are currently very busy trying to micro-manage the affairs of the Chicago State Faculty Senate. Perhaps they should concern themselves with the affairs of the university rather than worrying about a faculty governance institution about which they clearly have little or no understanding.

One of the key parts of a university president’s job is fund-raising. Typically, members of university boards of trustees are expected to be high-level donors to the schools they govern. Let’s see how much money our “leaders” have committed to this school since 2008.

Between 2008 and 2014, sixteen different persons have occupied positions on the Chicago State Board of Trustees (not including the student trustee). In seven years, those sixteen persons have contributed a total of $15,295 to the CSU Foundation. Here is the breakdown by individual board member in descending order of largest to smallest contributor:

1) Richard Tolliver (2008-11): $4150
2) Peggy Montes (2008-09): $3815
3) Gary Rozier (2009-13): $2035
4) “Z” Scott (2009-13): $1600
5) Nikki Zollar (2013-): $1150
6) Spencer Leak (2013-): $525
7) Horace Smith (2013-): $520
8) Leon Finney (2008-11): $500
9) Adam Stanley (2011-12): $500
10) Julie Samuels (2009-11): $150
11) Anthony Young (2011-): $150
12) Lisa Butler (2009-13): $100
13) James Joyce (2011-): $100
14) James Reynolds (2008-09): $0
15) Betsy Hill (2008-11): $0
16) Michael Curtin (2011-): $0

As I said above, the total contributions from these sixteen come to $15,295. In contrast, Sandra Westbrooks, Provost from 2008-13 contributed $17,740, or $2500 more than these sixteen Trustees. The six members of the current board, all of whom have expressed their unwavering support for Wayne Watson’s bullshit “vision,” have contributed a grand total of $2445 since 2011, with the Board Chairman, Anthony Young, contributing the generous total of $150 in three years. This is how the Board supports the university that their favorite son is currently in the process of destroying.

Now we come to the great man himself. I understand that when she served as president, Elnora Daniel believed in contributing to the CSU Foundation. I have been told by several more senior faculty members that she saw herself as the leader among contributors as well as for the university. Now, I am hardly pining for the days of Elnora Daniel, but it is notable that in fiscal 2008, when she had been removed as president and was on sabbatical, she contributed $1,000 to the Foundation. Since 2009, Wayne Watson has contributed a total of $3400 to the CSU Foundation, bringing the grand total of contributions from the university president and its board to the princely sum of $18,695 in six years. Watson’s contributions average out to $680 per fiscal year for someone who was making at least $400,000 per year in salary and pension until his overall income was recently reduced. However, that paltry sum is far more generous than the $159.32 per year each board member has averaged since 2008.

Obviously, money is not the only way to demonstrate commitment to Chicago State but for those persons charged with raising funds for the school and for those persons whose service on a university board of trustees should obligate them to financially support the university, their penuriousness makes a statement. Especially for the board members, who do not work here and who consistently demonstrate the grossest ignorance of events at the school, their unwillingness to contribute demonstrates how little they believe in the school they are charged with governing. They most likely would not send their children here and they sure as hell are not giving us any money. These people have done grave damage done to the school by enabling Watson's disastrous leadership. Why are they on the board, exactly?


  1. Holy lack of financial leadership Batman! Do you mean that the stewards of our fair university have contributed less than $200 per year and we are troublemakers for highlighting the administration and board failures. Maybe if there were board members who knew how higher education really functions we wouldn't have this sham of a university. I can't believe the Foundation would have made this information public given how utterly embarrassing it is. I can see why they provide such support for the university president. They are actualizing his vision of a university incapable of raising money. Now the only question to be left answered is why is the university unable to raise money. Any ideas???

  2. At CSU: "To those whom much is given,
    much more must be given..."

  3. Some time ago, I remarked to then-Dean Lindsay why I do not give money to CSU. It is because I am regularly out-of-pocket on reimbursable expenses (most recently, when I had to pay $50 extra to a bus driver on a field trip for making an extra stop, when he was paid by the hour. I have still not been repaid 13 months later) and NEVER get the money back, so those are my donations to CSU. She was not happy with that and said that i should not be doing it (ya think?). At least that money goes toward something I care about.